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Arrays of small speakers

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Anonymous
June 4, 2004 9:38:59 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

I remember seeing information on arrays of inexpensive small speakers
(multiple small drive units in a single enclosure) for high-fidelity
purposes. I think this was published in magazines in the 1950s or 60s; I
have the impression that Bose started out producing speaker systems this
way.

I don't remember and can't find the references. Can anybody please point
me to information on this topic, either from that period or later?

adthanksvance,
--
Michael Salem

More about : arrays small speakers

Anonymous
June 5, 2004 2:21:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

The speaker you're looking for was called the "Sweet Sixteen". It was
published in popular electronics. Check the following link.

http://www.eagle-wing.net/ClickPicks/TechnicalCorner/Po...

Cheers.




On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 17:38:59 +0100, Michael Salem <a$-b$1@ms3.org.uk>
wrote:

>I remember seeing information on arrays of inexpensive small speakers
>(multiple small drive units in a single enclosure) for high-fidelity
>purposes. I think this was published in magazines in the 1950s or 60s; I
>have the impression that Bose started out producing speaker systems this
>way.
>
>I don't remember and can't find the references. Can anybody please point
>me to information on this topic, either from that period or later?
>
>adthanksvance,
Anonymous
June 5, 2004 4:55:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Stu-R wrote:

> The speaker you're looking for was called the "Sweet Sixteen". It was
> published in popular electronics. Check the following link.
>
> http://www.eagle-wing.net/ClickPicks/TechnicalCorner/Po...

Many thanks!

'"Sweet Sixteen" loudspeaker system, published in the January 1961 issue
of Popular Electronics.'

I don't think this is the actual article I remember, which I believe had
a lot of really small speakers, but of course I'm looking for anything
that's there, not just what I read.

Best wishes,
--
Michael Salem
Related resources
Anonymous
June 5, 2004 8:35:55 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

I can recall reading an article back then by someone who built one and
it supposedly was the greatest sounding thing in it's time (really big
too).
I can see the similarity to the Bose speakers.

I think that probably the bigest difference is that the Sweet 16 was
done experimentally and Bose actually applied physics and advanced
math in designing their products.

Lee Salter
Anonymous
June 5, 2004 10:46:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Michael Salem wrote:

> I remember seeing information on arrays of inexpensive small speakers
> (multiple small drive units in a single enclosure) for high-fidelity
> purposes. I think this was published in magazines in the 1950s or
> 60s; I have the impression that Bose started out producing speaker
> systems this way.
>
> I don't remember and can't find the references. Can anybody please
> point me to information on this topic, either from that period or
> later?

Sure, there was a Popular Electronics article about a project called "The
Sweet 16". It was composed of 16 el-cheapo AM radio speakers in a minimal
box. This was around 1960. I heard one at the time in a local electronics
store, and thought it was some kind of a sonic disaster. It realized every
cliché about trying to make a silk purse out of a pig's ear etc. that you
ever heard. Later on there was a sequel project called "The Sweet 16+1". It
added a cheap tweeter. This was basically trying to put lipstick on a pig,
polish a turd, you name it.

In the day of "The Sweet 16", remarkably little was generally known about
loudspeakers and loudspeaker systems, compared to what is known today. So,
it can be excused on the grounds of general ignorance. The first problem was
that the speakers the Sweet 16" was made out, of were systematically
low-fi. The article argued that by combining many of them, the random
variations would be evened out. In fact the speaker drivers were
consistently low-fi.

Then there was the problem of the Sweet 16" speaker array itself. When
speakers are placed close together, a variety of complex interactions
result. These tend to add many more frequency response variations on top of
the many that might be present in the individual drivers themselves.

It turns out that there is a similar array that can work, but it has 25
speakers, not 16. It's called a Bessel array N=25, and details relating to
is can be found in some posts I made in the past few months. I recently
built a Bessel Array N=5, and it works, but.

When all is said and done, the Bessel array N=25 does not deliver 25 times
the sound of one of the speakers that it is composed of. Some of the drivers
must be connected with reversed polarity. The performance of about a
quarter of the array is sacrificed to make the rest of the array work
reasonably well. In the final analysis, you end up with a system that
performs pretty much like just one of the drivers if you sit some distance
from it. Close up is still not a pretty picture. However it does get
considerably louder if you apply much more power.

The economics of driver arrays are not always the best. It's generally
easier and more practical to get more loudness with a larger
high-performance driver, than with many little ones. Arrays of drivers can
be justified when the largest drivers generally available are used to build
them. The costs of larger higher performance drivers have fallen
considerably, and therefore they should be used whenever possible.

There are some very interesting things that can be done with driver arrays
when they are driven by complex systems of power amplifiers and signal
processors. But, they are justified only when simpler systems composed of
fewer drivers, fewer amplifiers and simpler signal processors can't do the
job.
June 5, 2004 3:12:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Michael Salem" <a$-b$1@ms3.org.uk> wrote in message
news:MPG.1b2b1c5fc94de184989737@News.individual.NET...
> Stu-R wrote:
>
> > The speaker you're looking for was called the "Sweet Sixteen". It was
> > published in popular electronics. Check the following link.
> >
> > http://www.eagle-wing.net/ClickPicks/TechnicalCorner/Po...
>
> Many thanks!
>
> '"Sweet Sixteen" loudspeaker system, published in the January 1961 issue
> of Popular Electronics.'
>
> I don't think this is the actual article I remember, which I believe had
> a lot of really small speakers, but of course I'm looking for anything
> that's there, not just what I read.
>
> Best wishes,
Could you be thinking of the Jordan units? I recall he did a setup with
a large number of his 4" full range drivers, and claimed great performance
from the system.

Those drivers used to be fairly reasonably priced, but that does not
seem to be the case these days.

Regards
Ian
Anonymous
June 5, 2004 6:55:30 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On 5 Jun 2004 04:35:55 -0700, dlsalter@paonline.com (Lee Salter)
wrote:

>I think that probably the bigest difference is that the Sweet 16 was
>done experimentally and Bose actually applied physics and advanced
>math in designing their products.

I've always wondered how Bose could get things so nearly right with
their PA speakers - the 802 etc. - and so horribly wrong with their
domestic stuff.
June 6, 2004 6:44:09 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

In article <MPG.1b2a864ea1ccbcae989735@News.individual.NET>, newsjan04.nospam@ms3.org.uk wrote:
>I remember seeing information on arrays of inexpensive small speakers
>(multiple small drive units in a single enclosure) for high-fidelity
>purposes. I think this was published in magazines in the 1950s or 60s; I
>have the impression that Bose started out producing speaker systems this
>way.
>
>I don't remember and can't find the references. Can anybody please point
>me to information on this topic, either from that period or later?
>
>adthanksvance,

Try a Google Groups search on, John M. Dlugosz sweet

He was the inventor of the Sweet Sixteen.

Dr. Bose started out with a sphere of multiple speakers. To
commercialize this, they dropped down to a 9 speaker system,
somwhat trying to duplicate some of the properties of a pulsating
sphere.

greg
Anonymous
June 6, 2004 4:50:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Lee Salter wrote:
> I can recall reading an article back then by someone who built one and
> it supposedly was the greatest sounding thing in it's time (really big
> too).
> I can see the similarity to the Bose speakers.
>
> I think that probably the bigest difference is that the Sweet 16 was
> done experimentally and Bose actually applied physics and advanced
> math in designing their products.


Um, don't you mean "avanced marketing"?

geoff
Anonymous
June 6, 2004 4:50:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Laurence Payne wrote:
> On 5 Jun 2004 04:35:55 -0700, dlsalter@paonline.com (Lee Salter)
> wrote:
>
>> I think that probably the bigest difference is that the Sweet 16 was
>> done experimentally and Bose actually applied physics and advanced
>> math in designing their products.
>
> I've always wondered how Bose could get things so nearly right with
> their PA speakers - the 802 etc. - and so horribly wrong with their
> domestic stuff.

What exactly do you find "right" about hte 802 ?


geoff
Anonymous
June 6, 2004 5:20:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Sun, 6 Jun 2004 12:50:50 +1200, "Geoff Wood"
<geoff@paf.co.nz-nospam> wrote:

>> I've always wondered how Bose could get things so nearly right with
>> their PA speakers - the 802 etc. - and so horribly wrong with their
>> domestic stuff.
>
>What exactly do you find "right" about hte 802

They were standard issue for theatre sound reinforcement in UK
theatres a generation ago. Did a pretty good job, as I remember.
Anonymous
June 9, 2004 1:16:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 17:38:59 +0100, Michael Salem <a$-b$1@ms3.org.uk>
wrote:

>I remember seeing information on arrays of inexpensive small speakers
>(multiple small drive units in a single enclosure) for high-fidelity
>purposes.

The problem with this approach is the displacement. Altough it seems
like a good idea to use many small drivers instaed of one big, the
small still have low xmax compared to the big cone, menaing that the
max SPL is a lot lower than a single driver with the same area.

I built one myself with nine 4.5" Philips drivers, and was not
impressed with the result. But then, I did not know what I was
doing...

Per.
Anonymous
June 9, 2004 1:16:41 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Tue, 08 Jun 2004 21:16:40 +0200, Per Stromgren
<per.stromgren@telia.com> wrote:

>On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 17:38:59 +0100, Michael Salem <a$-b$1@ms3.org.uk>
>wrote:
>>I remember seeing information on arrays of inexpensive small speakers
>>(multiple small drive units in a single enclosure) for high-fidelity
>>purposes.
>
>The problem with this approach is the displacement. Altough it seems
>like a good idea to use many small drivers instaed of one big, the
>small still have low xmax compared to the big cone, menaing that the
>max SPL is a lot lower than a single driver with the same area.

The second major problem is that a linear array of speakers is a comb
filter.

Pat http://www.pfarrell.com/prc/
Anonymous
June 9, 2004 1:16:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Pat Farrell wrote:
> On Tue, 08 Jun 2004 21:16:40 +0200, Per Stromgren
> <per.stromgren@telia.com> wrote:
>
>> On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 17:38:59 +0100, Michael Salem <a$-b$1@ms3.org.uk>
>> wrote:
>>> I remember seeing information on arrays of inexpensive small
>>> speakers (multiple small drive units in a single enclosure) for
>>> high-fidelity purposes.
>>
>> The problem with this approach is the displacement. Altough it seems
>> like a good idea to use many small drivers instaed of one big, the
>> small still have low xmax compared to the big cone, menaing that the
>> max SPL is a lot lower than a single driver with the same area.
>
> The second major problem is that a linear array of speakers is a comb
> filter.

A linear array doesn't have to be a comb filter, as used. But if built
naively, that is a clear and present danger.
Anonymous
June 9, 2004 1:16:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Tue, 8 Jun 2004 15:52:41 -0400, "Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com>
wrote:

>Pat Farrell wrote:
>> The second major problem is that a linear array of speakers is a comb
>> filter.
>
>A linear array doesn't have to be a comb filter, as used. But if built
>naively, that is a clear and present danger.

True, the $50K PipeDreams avoid it. But you have to be careful, which
takes away most of the attraction of the idea.

Pat http://www.pfarrell.com/prc/
Anonymous
June 9, 2004 1:18:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

As OP, many thanks for all the responses to my question. The conclusion
I reach from the postings and URLs is that a lot of terrible speaker
drive units combine, if carefully built, to form one cheap, but
mediocre, speaker.

Another project of the same sort that I actually built was to use a
couple of small (2"?), cheap, transistor-radio speakers in some sort of
enclosures (I used cylindrical plastic food containers) to make cheap
headphones which were supposed to punch above their weight (I.e., sound
as good as much more expensive headphones). I remember being satisfied,
but that might just have been influenced by pride in my own handiwork...

Best wishes,
--
Michael Salem
Anonymous
June 9, 2004 5:13:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

Per Stromgren wrote:
> On Fri, 4 Jun 2004 17:38:59 +0100, Michael Salem <a$-b$1@ms3.org.uk>
> wrote:
>
>> I remember seeing information on arrays of inexpensive small speakers
>> (multiple small drive units in a single enclosure) for high-fidelity
>> purposes.
>
> The problem with this approach is the displacement.

Another problem is that is many times less a point-source thn even a 3-way
speaker.

geoff
May 25, 2010 3:46:50 AM

I built one of these systems and love the purity of the sound. I am trying to locate an article on it now. I will design one on my own if I do not find the original article.
July 23, 2010 3:56:13 AM

Whooohooo I have a copy of the article and this was what I built a looong time ago as a teenager.
Anonymous
December 13, 2010 11:19:09 PM

I built two of these systems in the 60's and 70's from cheap car speakers. They handle 100 watts easily and sound great. The second set had a cone tweeter and cross over that just made it better. I also put it in a sealed enclosure with a bass reflex opening at the bottom that increased the lower range. Speakers, enclosure, wire and cross over cost me about $150 back then.
March 2, 2012 2:10:51 PM

Quote:
Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

I remember seeing information on arrays of inexpensive small speakers
(multiple small drive units in a single enclosure) for high-fidelity
purposes. I think this was published in magazines in the 1950s or 60s; I
have the impression that Bose started out producing speaker systems this
way.

I don't remember and can't find the references. Can anybody please point
me to information on this topic, either from that period or later?

adthanksvance,
--
Michael Salem

March 2, 2012 2:18:39 PM

Quote:
Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

I remember seeing information on arrays of inexpensive small speakers
(multiple small drive units in a single enclosure) for high-fidelity
purposes. I think this was published in magazines in the 1950s or 60s; I
have the impression that Bose started out producing speaker systems this
way.

I don't remember and can't find the references. Can anybody please point
me to information on this topic, either from that period or later?

adthanksvance,
--
Michael Salem


The original article was definitely in Popular Electronics and was no later that the very early 50's since I built three of them for friends and family when stereo LP's were first introduced by Columbia Records. They were made from 16 inexpensive 5" speakers in a series/parallel array in almost any physical configuration and produced amazing midrange and suprising bass reproduction.
July 20, 2012 12:10:12 AM

This topic has been closed by Rubix_1011
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